Monday, June 09, 2014

Summer Wedding or Step Toward Peace?

Differences aside: Presidents Peres and Abbas joked and hugged at the ceremony, which included a group handshake as a gesture of peace

There is an old chestnut about an American diplomat working in the Middle East suggesting to Arab and Israeli leaders that they try to resolve their differences like good Christians.

Well, a Christian leader, Pope Francis brought two Middle Eastern leaders together for the purpose of talking and praying peace. I like this description of the event from The Mail Online:

The Pope waded into the Middle East peace process last night, uniting the leaders of Israel and Palestine through the power of prayer during a tranquil sunset summit in the gardens of the Vatican.Political and religious differences were put to one side last night as Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joked and hugged at Francis' Vatican residence before attending an al fresco invocation of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worship.
In a meeting that better resembled an outdoor summer wedding than a diplomatic parley, the three men passed along a receiving line as guests mingled on the lawn to the serene harmonies of a string ensemble.
Now, Peres in not the Prime Minister of Israel. It is Premier Netanyahu who has the real power and is a hardliner. Abbas doesn't necessary have the ear or the loyalty of  the extreme Palestinian groups. But it is an effort worth noting.
What do you think? Was this a "why bother?" moment, or just more blah, blah when it comes to Middle East peace?

1 comment:

Frank said...

I would think that Peres and Abbas can still claim some moral authority in each of their respective constituencies. At least these two individuals can continue an essential dialogue together.
The UCC has already recognized what it sees as essential to peace in this region. Despite the ongoing and frustrating lack of progress (if not regress) we must remain hopeful nonetheless.